U.S. agency says Trump, Bush can review Kavanaugh records request


FILE PHOTO: Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill on Monday, Dec. 03, 2018 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford/Pool via Reuters/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. agency responsible for preserving government records said on Wednesday that President Donald Trump and former President George W. Bush can review a request by House Democrats for the records of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Two Democrats from the House Judiciary Committee, including Chairman Jerrold Nadler, asked the National Archives on Tuesday for records from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House, saying the panel needs the information as it considers a “code of conduct” for Supreme Court justices.

Kavanaugh was nominated by Trump last year and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, after televised hearings dominated by allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in 1982. Kavanaugh forcefully denied the allegations.

The National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, said on Wednesday that it will respond to the Democrats’ request under a federal statute that requires “notification to the incumbent and former presidents so that they can review for constitutionally-based privileges.”

The White House declined to comment. The House Judiciary Committee had no immediate comment. Officials at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas were not immediately available to comment.

Nadler and Representative Hank Johnson, who chairs a House Judiciary subcommittee, asked for records from Kavanaugh’s time in the White House counsel’s office from 2001 to 2003 and as White House staff secretary from 2003 to 2006. The list includes documents that were not available to the Senate Judiciary Committee before it recommended Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

The lawmakers said their request is important as the Supreme Court prepares to consider cases in the coming year that involve civil rights, criminal justice, immigration, reproductive rights, separation of powers and executive authority.

The committee’s top Republican criticized the request as harassment and said Democrats were pursuing a smear campaign against Kavanaugh.   

The Supreme Court did not respond to Reuters queries seeking comment on the request for Kavanaugh’s records.

Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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